Ghadeer-Khum – An academic analysis

This article will aim to deconstruct popular contentions of the Shia interpretation of Ghadeer Khumm the following manner:


Essential Introduction

[i] Does it make sense for the Prophet [saw] to appoint anyone, and is the timing of Ghadeer in coherence with this?



[I] Did the Prophet [saw] not deliver his message to the ‘majority’ of muslims who were from the regions of Mecca or were south of Mecca in T’aif, or Yemen, as well as Oman, Najran, Bahrain or Kufa who would thus have not travelled northwards on the way to Medina after the completion of Hajj?

[II] What was the rank and role of these later converts to Islam [From Mecca , T’aif, Yemen, Oman, and other regions] in preserving the Sunnah?

[III] Should the Prophet [saw] have given the declaration in Makkah?

[IV] Was the declaration at Ghadeer-Khumm in response to hateful speech spoken against Ali ibn Abi Talib by soldiers angry at his actions in Yemen, and how widespread was the discontent?

[V] Level of discontent


Analysis of the declaration

How can we understand the meaning of ‘Awla’ and ‘Mawla’

[VI-A Awla]

[VI-B Mawla]

[VI-C] A holistic assessment of ‘Munkuntum mawla’

[VI-D – The real hatred against Ali ibn Abi Talib as more deep rooted than Yemen]

[VI-E – Stronger virtues given to Ali ibn Abi Talib than ‘friend’]



[VII] How did Ali ibn Abi Talib interpret this event as per authentic sunni traditions?

[VIII] Why was Ali ibn Abi Talib not duly given his right after the death of the Prophet [saw], and did he or any of the other companions protest?

[VIII Part B] The event of Saqifah

[IX] Did Ali ibn Abi Talib or any of the other companions fight for his right?

[X] Conclusion